Responsibility for managing access to third level places rests with the Central Applications Office (CAO) and the third level institutions generally. The higher education institutions have delegated to the CAO the task of processing applications to their first year undergraduate courses. However, the participating institutions retain the function of making decisions on admissions.
Course offers are made by the CAO on the basis of a points system linked to performance in the Leaving Certificate Examination. The number of points needed for any course depends on the number of places available and the number of applicants for those places, accordingly the points for any course may vary from year to year. Course offers are made to students that have the required points for the current year regardless of when they sat their Leaving Certificate.
Neither my Department nor the Higher Education Authority has any role to play in relation to the operation of the CAO or the admissions policies of third level institutions.